By Mary Minette, Consultant, Mercy Investment Services The pillars of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) form a basis for responsible investing that prioritizes the long-term health of our economy, societies, and planet. This has been a key component of the approach of the Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB) since its inception as an important expression of alignment between the investments and the mission of the Adrian Dominican Sisters. As ESG investing has grown as a share of the overall market, an anti-ESG movement has developed among some politicians and state treasurers, who decry such investments as “woke” capitalism. New legislation in some states prohibits state contracts and investments with investment firms that use environmental or social indicators to inform investment decisions. Sometimes, government entities may not enter contracts for goods or services without written verification that the vendor will not boycott fossil fuels. Legislation of this nature has been introduced in 37 states, targeting investors who have made climate commitments. In July, the US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee held a series of hearings called “ESG Month” that targeted ESG investors. They introduced bills designed to curtail social and environmental investment and the regulatory powers of the Securities and Exchange Commission to allow for greater disclosure of ESG information. None of these bills is expected to move to the Senate during this session of Congress, but they represent a disturbing trend that would curtail the ability of investors to choose how and where they invest. In early June, the PAB joined 77 fellow Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility members in a letter asking members of Congress to publicly speak out against these anti-ESG campaigns and efforts to derail environmental and social progress resulting from shareholders’ efforts. The letter encourages members of Congress to advocate for prudent, non-partisan investment practices and to consider the financial damage to state and municipal pension funds due to the anti-ESG legislation. The PAB will continue to advocate for the importance of addressing these factors in investing and engagement.